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At Idaho nuclear plant nuclear warnings were unheeded, with dangerous results

Repeated radiation warnings go unheeded at sensitive Idaho nuclear plant Center fr Public Integrity 29 June 17 

“…….Key findings

  • The chairman of a safety committee at Idaho National Laboratory wrote a memo in 2009 warning that damaged plutonium plates could endanger workers. He said in a legal deposition that he shared it with 19 people at the lab, including high-ranking managers.
  • The managers ignored most of his recommendations, he said. An accident occurred in which 16 workers inhaled plutonium dust particles. Two minutes beforehand, a supervisor who had been warned about the risks relayed an order for it to proceed.
  • Three workers sued, claiming their inhalations brought injury and illness. Though BEA, the contractor running the lab, disagreed about the severity of the exposures, it settled the suits confidentially and then petitioned the federal government to pay its legal fees and settlement costs.
  • Word of this incident reached local newspapers, but there were other radiation exposures at the lab — both before and after this incident — that did not attract public notice. Despite work stoppages and re-training of workers, unsafe conditions persisted, according to government reports.
  • The year of the plutonium-exposure accident, BEA received 92 percent of all the profit its contract made available — $17.1 million. In 2012 the Energy Department withheld $500,000 in profits from BEA for radiation events, but later gave all of the money back to the company. In March 2014, the Department of Energy extended BEA’s contract to operate Idaho National Laboratory for five more years without holding a competition……..

June 30, 2017 - Posted by | health, USA

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